Zoo Warlock is one of the evergreen Hearthstone archetypes, relying on the class’ strong 1-drops and guaranteed card draw via the hero power to pack the deck with low-cost minions, then leveraging the tempo lead by constantly using Life Tap to be able to play two cards per turn and push additional damage. In Saviors of Uldum, Zoo is getting some pretty serious Lackey-based support, which seems like a no-brainer to include in any build. While this will force you to go a little slower than before, it fully leverages the new synergies and a powerful-looking new card.
Zoo had a strong start to Rise of Shadows but quickly fell by the wayside as Conjurer Mage and Control Warrior triumphed over the metagame, and it will need all the support it can get in Saviors of Uldom. Thankfully, it’s getting an insane amount of direct support in the new set in the form of Lackey synergies, plus some very strong individual cards.
So how reliable are the Lackey synergies? The maximum number of Lackeys available without Youthful Brewmaster-related shenanigans is eight by playing both copies of EVIL Cable Rat, EVIL Genius and the new Sinister Deal. They are leveraged by EVIL Recruiter and Dark Pharaoh Tekahn alongside the usual suspects (buff / sacrifice cards). It’s a strong starting point, though the new class legendary is arguably the weakest link in the chain.
But wait, there’s more! Serpent Egg is uniquely fit to be a Zoo card, and it’s been very similar to Nerubian Egg, which was a staple in the archetype in the Naxxramas days and beyond. With EVIL Genius, the possibilities are endless for early-game shenanigans, though its inclusion – among other new goodies – comes at a price of fewer one-drops. To ensure that you don’t run dry with the double set of eggs, Dire Wolf Alpha is included over Knife Juggler in this particular build. To have an emergency valve against Conjurer Mage, a single copy of Impbalming is featured as a removal option as this deck is uniquely well-suited to manage bad 1/1 draws later in the game.
The featured build also experiments with Neferset Thrasher, a card which will probably win you the game if it has the chance to attack enough times that its text starts to make itself felt. For mirror matches, Sea Giant is a no-brainer to include, and considering you have much fewer 1-drops to work with – not to mention the inclusion of Serpent Egg –, you may want to swap a Grim Rally with Void Terror.
Defender of Argus is also a viable consideration as an Egg enabler and a way to leverage Neferset Thrashers in closely fought late-game situations where its card text would actually turn out to be a significant downside. Another strong neutral introduced in Saviors of Uldum is Quicksand Elemental, basically an Curse of Weakness on a stick without and stat loss that can really help you out against other aggressive decks. While it wasn’t included in the featured build as we expect a more varied metagame, it’s a definite “sideboard” candidate under the right circumstances.